Lauren Foster ’15, Staff Writer
On Sunday, May 27, 2014, at 5:00pm in the Church of Christ The Teacher, the Merrimack Community will welcome nine young men and women into the Catholic Church through the Sacraments of Initiation.
Kayla Hodgekins ’14 and Priscilla Khaknejad ’15 will be Baptized and receive First Communion and Confirmation. Edwina Maughan, Nick Flaherty ’14, and Travis Terril ’14, who have each been baptized into another Christian religion, will make a Profession of Faith to the church and receive First Communion and Confirmation while Crystal Cedeno ’16 will receive First Communion and Confirmation. Kate Culverhouse ’16, Luis Guerreio ’17, and Melissa Miller ’15 will receive the final Sacrament of Initiation, Confirmation.
Reverend William Waters, more commonly known as Father Bill, noted the substantial amount of students interested in going through the process this year: “This is the largest group we’ve had. Other years we’ve had about five to seven, this year we have nine.”
“I think a lot of young people have a desire to develop their faith and find out more about it. Certainly not all, but many have a real desire to find out more about their faith and strengthen it. We had some people who began the process who decided not to continue, which is fine because they gave it a shot,” Fr. Bill commented.
Students go through the Sacraments of Initiation through Campus Ministry for various reasons. Kate Culverhouse, ’16, had previously been Baptized and received First Communion, but had not been confirmed. “I wanted to receive Confirmation because it was the next step in my journey of faith,” stated Culverhouse. “When I came to Merrimack, I started going to mass with my friends and felt like I was doing the right thing for my faith and making my Confirmation was the final step in the process.”
Melissa Miller, ‘15, also had similar reasons to receive Confirmation at Merrimack. “I chose to get confirmed, because I felt that I was ready to fully accept Christ into my life. I started going to a confirmation class back in high school, but I really didn’t have full appreciation for it.”
Miller credited service trips through the college and attending mass as motivation to complete her sacraments.
Culverhouse acknowledged that although she attended CCD while growing up, the most difficult part of the process was recalling the various stories of the bible that Christians are taught at a young age. “Thankfully, this process placed me in a group with others who were in a similar position to myself and we all had each other and Father Bill to help us through it all.”
Luis Guerrero, ’17, had similar difficulties. “I mostly forgot everything that I learned when I was ten so going back and relearning all of the stories and new material was a lot to take in. While it was challenging, I enjoyed every minute because I started to feel a relationship develop between God and myself whether it was going to mass or just praying on my own.”
Miller commented, “This process has been awesome, and the people who have gone on this process have been very supporting. We meet almost every Sunday night, and it’s exciting that we are very close to getting confirmed. One of the best parts was getting to know everyone else going through this process.”
Recently all nine candidates got to attend the Rite of Election Mass in Boston on the first Sunday of Lent. “When we were there, we were able to see how many other people of all ages were working towards receiving a Sacrament of Initiation just like us. It was a humbling experience to be called up to the front of the church to be blessed by Cardinal Sean O’Malley (the Archbishop of Boston),” Culverhouse noted.
Why should other students take part in the opportunity to receive the Sacraments of Initiation? “If they want to learn more about their faith and if they feel they are ready to own more of the decision to receive the sacraments,” Fr. Bill stated. Interested students should contact him at WatersW@merrimack.edu.